How popular is the baby name Isolde in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Isolde.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Isolde


Posts that Mention the Name Isolde

Where did the baby name Kirsten come from in 1937?

Opera singer Kirsten Flagstad (1895-1962).
Kirsten Flagstad

The name Kirsten first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1937:

  • 1939: 16 baby girls named Kirsten
  • 1938: 14 baby girls named Kirsten
  • 1937: 10 baby girls named Kirsten
  • 1936: unlisted
  • 1935: unlisted

The reason?

Norwegian opera singer Kirsten (pronounced keer-sten) Flagstad, who became famous in America in the mid-1930s, particularly for playing Wagnerian roles (like Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, and Brünnhilde in Die Walküre). People would have been able to hear her on 1930s radio shows like Kraft Music Hall (NBC) with Bing Crosby and The Ford Sunday Evening Hour (CBS).

Her first name is the Norwegian form of Christina. (She also had an interesting middle name, Malfrid, which is made up of Old Norse elements meaning “ore” and “beautiful.”)

Do you like the name Kirsten?

Sources: Kirsten Flagstad – Wikipedia, Malfrid – Nordic Names Wiki

Name Quotes #89: Shelley, Kelly, Bill

Dram EP

From an Uproxx article about DRAM’s most recent EP:

Virginian rap crooner DRAM returned last night with the release of his new, three-song EP, That’s A Girl’s Name. Produced and co-written by Josh Abraham and Oligee, the EP’s title refers to DRAM’S real name, Shelley Massenburg-Smith, which means “that’s a girl’s name” is probably a phrase he heard quite a bit growing up.

(“DRAM” is an acronym for “Does Real Ass Music.” DRAM’s goldendoodle also has an interesting name: Idnit [vid] — “as in, idnit so cute.”)

DRAM with his dog, Idnit

From an Us Magazine article about Matthew McConaughey’s new book Greenlights:

The Texas native also revealed that when he was born his father wasn’t there. Instead, he explained that James “called my mom and said, ‘Only thing I have to say is if it’s a boy, don’t name him Kelly.’”

From a New York Times article about the marriage of Sugar Good, a Dunkin’ Donuts manager, to one of her drive-through customers:

A year would go by before she gathered the courage to pass him her sprinkle-bedecked business card with his breakfast in September 2018. But when she did, it came as a relief to both. The man, John Thompson, a recently retired Marine working as a car salesman in Oklahoma City, had been wondering how he was going to figure out what her real name was.

“When I started going through the drive-through, I noticed she would smile with her eyes, and I thought, maybe if I read the receipt I can see what her name is,” he said. “But it said ‘Sugar No. 7.'” He figured Sugar must have been a reference to how he likes his coffee. With the card, which listed her cellphone number at the bottom, she cleared up the mystery — as well as her own case of the blues.

(I discovered this one via Nancy Friedman — thank you!)

From a Harper’s Bazaar article about genderless beauty brands:

“As a culture, we are realizing that gender is no longer a fixed concept,” says Sam Cheow, senior vice president of corporate innovation and product development at the Estée Lauder Companies, which owns brands like M.A.C, Tom Ford Beauty, Le Labo, and Frédéric Malle . . . Cheow points to evidence that the needle is moving forward: the growing backlash surrounding gender-reveal parties; a rise in gender-neutral baby names (for example, in 2018, 51 percent of “Charlies” were female); and the arrival of Q, the world’s first genderless voice assistant.

From a Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources blog post entitled “The Tiffany Problem“:

Wait, what? No way there’s a Tiffany in this book! Not when there are other women running around with convincing names like Blanchefleur, Isolde, and Ermentrude.

[…]

[T]he Tiffany Problem describes the tension between historical fact and the average, everyday person’s idea of history. So even though authors may research carefully and want to include historically accurate information in their book—like a medieval character named Tiffany—a popular audience likely won’t buy it.

From a piece in Blue Ridge Outdoors about not wanting a trail name:

I remember a guy named Bill. His view on trail names mirrored mine. He didn’t have one, didn’t want one. He was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, not seeking a new identity. As he walked the white-blazed path, he simply introduced himself as “Bill”.

The most-often stated reply to him was, “What’s your trail name?”

His standard answer, “I don’t have a trail name. My name is just Bill.”

He became “Just Bill.”

From a Pitchfork interview with The Good Place actress D’Arcy Carden:

I put an apostrophe in my name that wasn’t there before, like Smashing Pumpkins bassist D’Arcy Wretzky, because of how influential this band was to me. D’Arcy was just the epitome of cool to me. In 1993, I was really into alternative and grunge music, and whereas the Nirvanas and the Pearl Jams felt so masculine, there was something sweeter and lighter about Smashing Pumpkins. The fact that they had a girl in their band was huge for me and my friends. I learned the guitar part to “Today,” and it made me feel like such a badass. It was like, “Wow, I can play guitar!” But, of course, anybody can play the beginning of “Today.”

(Name Quotes #73 mentioned another Good Place actress…)

From an amNewYork article about Broadway actress Tovah Feldshuh (born Terri Sue Feldshuh in 1952):

What ever happened to Terri Sue Feldshuh?

“I fell in love with a Christian boy, Michael Fairchild, who didn’t want to kiss a Terri Sue. He said: ‘Terri Sue doesn’t fit you at all. What’s that other name of yours? Tovah? Now that’s a name!'”

(Her stage name was initially “Terri Fairchild,” according to Wikipedia.)

Where did the baby name Tristram come from?

Actor Tris Coffin (1909-1990).
Tristram “Tris” Coffin

The baby name Tristram, which has been around for centuries, didn’t debut in the U.S. baby name data until 1958:

  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: 5 baby boys named Tristram
  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: unlisted

This was the year after the name Tris, which had charted as a girl name several times, first appeared on the boys’ list.

The influence behind both names was American actor Tristram “Tris” Coffin, who starred in the TV series 26 Men from late 1957 to mid-1959. In the show he played a fictionalized version of Thomas H. Rynning, captain of the Arizona Rangers during the early 1900s.

His first name is a variant of Tristan, immortalized in the tragic medieval tale of Tristan and Iseult (a.k.a Isolde). We don’t know for sure where the name Tristan comes from, as it’s been “altered from an irrecoverable original as a result of transmission through Old French sources that insisted on associating it with Latin tristis ‘sad,’ a reference to the young knight’s tragic fate.” Tristan may have been based on the Pictish male name Drustan/Drosten, a diminutive form of Drest/Drust/Drost, which was a common name among Pictish rulers.

If the name “Tristram Coffin” sounds weirdly familiar to you, you aren’t nuts — more than a few American men have borne this exact name. All are descendants of Tristram Coffyn, an immigrant from England who was one of the first settlers of Nantucket. In fact, the original Tristram Coffyn (c.1608-1681) was the great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather of actor Tris Coffin (1909-1990), born in a mining town in Utah three centuries later. (Another bearer was folklorist Tristram P. Coffin.)

Do you like the name Tristram? Do you like it more or less than Tristan?

Sources:

Female names in the Domesday Book

We looked at names from King Henry III’s fine rolls (13th century) a couple of weeks ago, so now let’s go back a bit further and look at names from the Domesday Book (11th century).

What is the Domesday Book?

It’s a land survey, compiled in 1086, that covered much of England and parts of Wales.

The Domesday Book provides extensive records of landholders, their tenants, the amount of land they owned, how many people occupied the land (villagers, smallholders, free men, slaves, etc.), the amounts of woodland, meadow, animals, fish and ploughs on the land (if there were any) and other resources, any buildings present (churches, castles, mills, salthouses, etc.), and the whole purpose of the survey – the value of the land and its assets, before the Norman Conquest, after it, and at the time of Domesday.

The book is held at The National Archives in London, but its contents are available online at Open Domesday.

Most of the names in the Domesday Book are male, as most landowners were men. So, to be different (and to make things easier!) I thought I’d focus on the women.

The female names below appeared in the Open Domesday database just once, except where noted. (Multiple mentions don’t necessarily speak to name popularity, as this is not a representative sample of 11th-century people. Also, some individuals are simply mentioned in the book more than once.)

A

  • Adelaide
  • Adelina (2)
  • Adeliza
  • Aeldiet
  • Aeleva (3)
  • Aelfeva (9)
  • Aelfgyth (4)
  • Aelfrun
  • Aelfthryth
  • Aelgeat
  • Aelgyth
  • Aelrun
  • Aethelfled
  • Aethelgyth
  • Agnes (2)
  • Ailhilla
  • Aldeva
  • Aldgyth (13)
  • Aldhild
  • Aldwif
  • Aleifr
  • Aleva
  • Alfhild (3)
  • Alfled (3)
  • Alswith
  • Althryth
  • Alware
  • Alweis
  • Alwynn (2)
  • Asa
  • Asmoth
  • Azelina

B

  • Beatrix
  • Bothild
  • Bricteva (8)
  • Brictfled
  • Brictgyth

C

  • Christina
  • Cwenhild
  • Cwenleofu
  • Cwenthryth

D

  • Deorwynn
  • Dove

E

  • Edeva (8)
  • Edhild
  • Edith (5)
  • Edlufu
  • Egelfride
  • Emma (7)
  • Estrild
  • Eva

G

  • Goda (6)
  • Gode (2)
  • Godelind
  • Godesa
  • Godgyth (4)
  • Goldhild
  • Godhyse
  • Godiva (7)
  • Godrun
  • Goldeva
  • Goldrun
  • Gudhridh
  • Gunild (2)
  • Gunwor
  • Guthrun
  • Gytha (4)

H

  • Heloise (2)
  • Hawise

I

  • Ida
  • Ingifrith
  • Ingrith
  • Isolde

J

  • Judith

L

  • Lefleda
  • Leodfled
  • Leofcwen
  • Leofeva (9)
  • Leoffled (4)
  • Leofgyth
  • Leofhild
  • Leofrun
  • Leofsidu
  • Leofswith
  • Leofwaru
  • Leohteva

M

  • Matilda (3)
  • Mawa
  • Menleva
  • Mereswith
  • Merwynn
  • Mild
  • Modeva
  • Molleva
  • Muriel

O

  • Odfrida
  • Odil
  • Odolina
  • Oia
  • Olova
  • Oseva

Q

  • Queneva

R

  • Regnild
  • Rohais (2)

S

  • Saegyth
  • Saehild
  • Saelufu
  • Saewaru
  • Saieva
  • Sigrith
  • Skialdfrith
  • Stanfled
  • Sunneva

T

  • Tela
  • Thorild
  • Thorlogh
  • Tova
  • Tovild
  • Turorne
  • Tutfled

W

  • Wigfled
  • Wulfeva (9)
  • Wulffled (2)
  • Wulfgyth
  • Wulfrun
  • Wulfwaru (2)
  • Wulfwynn (2)

See anything you like?

Also, did you notice the names of Scandinavian origin (e.g., Guthrun, Ingrith, Sigrith)? “These names are most numerous in the eastern half of the country, particularly Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. This is precisely where, as we know from other evidence, there was a substantial settlement of Scandinavian immigrants.”

UPDATE: Here are the Male Names in the Domesday Book.

Sources:

Image: National Archives (UK)